The International Criminal Court (ICC) officially welcomed the Palestinians as members of the global tribunal at a ceremony at The Hague on Wednesday. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was presented with a special edition of the ICC’s Rome Statute.
“Accession to a treaty is, of course, just the first step. As the Rome Statute today enters into force for the State of Palestine, Palestine acquires all the rights as well as responsibilities that come with being a State Party to the Statute. These are substantive commitments, which cannot be taken lightly,” ICC Vice President Kuniko Ozaki said.
Al-Maliki said that “as Palestine formally becomes a State Party to the Rome Statute today, the world is also a step closer to ending a long era of impunity and injustice. Indeed, today brings us closer to our shared goals of justice and peace.”
The U.S. and Israel, both of whom are not members of the ICC, deeply oppose the Palestinians’ accession to the body, arguing that such unilateral steps hurt the chances of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.